How to Identify Majolica Pottery Planters

Written by meredith jameson
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How to Identify Majolica Pottery Planters
Majolica pottery has a distinctive underglaze (majolica ceramics. image by Robert Crum from

The term Majolica refers to a certain type of ceramic, which is created when the pottery item is fired to an unglazed state at 593 degrees Celsius. A series of glazes, including an opaque lead glaze and an assortment of metal oxide glazes, are then used to create an intense, translucent colour by which the pottery is identified. Majolica pottery techniques have been developed since the 3rd century and Majolica items were particularly popular during the Victorian era. This article outlines a few ways to identify a Majolica pottery planter.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    View photos of Majolica planters online and in reference books to learn the specific appearance of the ceramic style. Reference books include “The Collector's Encyclopedia of Majolica” by Mariann Katz-Marks and websites include Cyber and Go

  2. 2

    Examine the planter carefully. The undersurface should be glazed, as glazing is an important part of the Majolica ceramic process. If it is not glazed, the planter is probably not authentic Majolica. The undersurface is likely to have a green, pink, white or green colour and may have a mottled appearance.

  3. 3

    Identify Etruscan Majolica pottery planters, primarily made by the Griffen Company under various company names between 1979 and 1892, by a pastel glaze with a clear, transparent appearance. The underside treatment is sponged yellow and green, solid white, or grey/brown mottled.

  4. 4

    Turn the planter over, if possible, and look for the maker’s mark. Most factories made a mark on their items. For instance, if the Majolica planter was made in England, there will be a registry mark with the date when the design was patented. Some companies, such as Minton and Wedgwood, include symbols that indicate the date of manufacture. View a list of Majolica manufacturers at websites such as

  5. 5

    Look for an artisan’s signature on the planter. Some notable Majolica artists include Hughes Protat, Paul Comolera and T.C. Brown-Westhead.

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